Opening tonight at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill and running until March 9 is the exhibition Parked in Victoria by photographer Chris Miles.
When Chris arrived in Victoria in 2010 he was immediately struck by the presence of 40, 50 and 60 year old cars out on the city streets. Some looked as though they had been lovingly cared for, some looked as though they had been meticulously restored, and some looked like they just wouldn’t quit, no matter how old and tired. The other thing that Chris noticed was that these cars weren’t on their way to or from car shows in the summer, they were out and about as daily drivers all through the year.
As a lifelong photographer his first reaction was to start documenting what he saw, keeping a camera with him at all times as he went about the city. A collection started to emerge and with it the realisation that there were often connections to be seen between the cars and the locations they were parked in. Out of this came an approach and a style that has resulted in the Parked in Victoria exhibition and book.
The cars are all photographed where they were found, none of these images have been set up or arranged and no photo-shopping has been done to exclude unwanted elements. Getting the shot without other parked cars, distracting pedestrians or passing traffic was always a matter of luck. Sometimes it meant waiting a few minutes for the right moment, and sometimes it meant taking the shot as quickly as possible before the right moment disappeared as the owner arrived and drove off or someone else arrived and parked next to the subject. There have been a lot of “ones that got away”!
The images in this exhibition are thus decisive moments of a particular type. Moments when the streets seemed quiet and empty, moments when the light was right, moments when a temporarily parked car from 50 years ago perfectly matched or contrasted with its modern-day background. And like all decisive moments they are unique, chance events that are captured in photographs but gone in an instant.
You can find more of Chris’ photos at his site www.cnmiles.ca